Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Magic Journey” as Want to Read:
The Magic Journey
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Magic Journey (The New Mexico Trilogy #2)

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  419 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
Boom times came to the forgotten little southwestern town of Chamisaville just as the rest of America was in the Great Depression. They came when a rattletrap bus loaded with stolen dynamite blew sky-high, leaving behind a giant gushing hot spring. Within minutes, the town's wheeler-dealers had organized, and within a year, Chamisaville was flooded with tourists and pilgri ...more
Paperback, 528 pages
Published February 15th 2000 by Holt Paperbacks (first published April 1978)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Magic Journey, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Magic Journey

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Apr 27, 2011 Ad rated it it was amazing
I believe this is probably my favorite book. The book is my favorite because the story reflects my society where I'm from the terrain as well is so fitting having been here for 34 years to have seen these exact changes as in john nichols fictional chamisaville. There is so much incredible depth amongst the rotation of characters. I love the main character April Delaney she's so dynamic as is the lawyer Virgil Lebya both incredible humans. I just finished this book a second time and probably will ...more
Apr 13, 2007 skye rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A heartbreaker and fight-maker. An amazing novel that completely sucked me in. Actually, the first time I tried to read it I couldn't get past the first chapter. On the second try, while on a trip back to the Southwest, I got into it and couldn't stop reading it. Heartbreaking over and over and over - true stories of the destruction of the West and long-running sustainable cultures of farmers and Pueblo peoples by "progress" (greed) - and great characters. Virgil Leyba in particular has stuck wi ...more
Feb 26, 2008 Coalbanks rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those who hope not all land will become a golfcourse
I enjoyed both books - The Magic Journey & The Milagro Beanfield War. I could see that what had happened to Chamisaville was happening to my province of Alberta as the oil/gas/coal/real estate interests took over & ran the gov't, the economy & anyone who needed a job. Locals were co-opted into doing "the right thing for the community", used when they useful to the ruling class, discarded when they had served their purpose, rewarded or punished by those in power, public input request ...more
John Orman
Dec 19, 2013 John Orman rated it really liked it
In this heartbreaking chronicle of life in a small southwestern town, there is a disturbing commentary on where the road to progress has taken America.

Because of a freak accident, Chamisaville goes from sleepy backwater to tourist destination town. Then the greedy outsiders take over, and the townspeople are on the outside looking in.

Chamisaville is drawn from Nichols' hometown of Taos, NM, but this is not a regional novel, but a metaphor for life even in the big cities of the US. Nichols notes
Aug 17, 2007 Andrew rated it it was ok
I hoped this book would be as good as Milagro Beanfield War, but it has disappointed.

There's all kinds of interesting anthropological type of stuff about all the characters who live in the little town of Chamisaville, but there's no discernable plot or even a protagonist. I suppose the community itself could be construed as the protagonist, but it's difficult to relate personally to anyone. It reads like a well-written news article, not like compelling fiction.
Aug 08, 2008 lisa rated it it was amazing
this book is blowing my mind. topical, well written. a knock out of a book.
May 05, 2011 Brandon rated it liked it
Recommends it for: lovers of the neo-West.
The Magic Journey is a frustrating novel because the last third has so many true character developments rarely written elsewhere. But the first half of the novel rarely captured me with the humanity of Milagro Beanfield War.

The title comes from the development or “betterment”of Chamisaville: “The valley was perched on the brink of magic journey” (37). A magic journey is also taken by April McQueen, daughter of Rodey McQueen, the land baron set on bettering Chamisaville (79). As families go, so

Paul Peterson
Nov 05, 2014 Paul Peterson rated it liked it
This is the second book in the New Mexico trilogy and I did enjoy the historical perspective, spanning about 3/4 of the 21st century, into the 1970's. There was the Native American/Latino/Anglo angle, the agricultural economy passing into the service economy (bypassing the manufacturing economy in this locale) and, of course, the Capitalist/Socialist struggle all intertwined in the plot.

The writing had it's moments of near brilliance, but very few, and the characters lacked that personal appeal
Jan 05, 2012 Karin rated it liked it
To be honest,this probably deserves a 5 star rating.The magic journey of Chamisaville and the Chamisa Valley is captivating and thoughtprovoking.The story within the story could have been published separately with the title:Scarlet O'Hara Does the 20th Century.April may be essential to the story in as much as she becomes the mouthpiece for the peasants;to me she is a distraction,hence 3 stars.
Tim O'Neill
Feb 29, 2016 Tim O'Neill rated it really liked it
2nd in the New Mexico Trilogy with a vast array of characters notably April McQueen/Delaney, Virgil Leyba and host of others. Small town and surrounding area loved by locals as it is but greed and progress of Anglo powerbrokers want to change it for their benefit at the cost of its Mexican culture.
Jul 12, 2010 Matt rated it it was amazing
Takes place in the same location as the Milagro Beanfield War, but after a few years have gone by. It's a little bit more sarcastic, desperate, and serious than the first book, but the style stays mostly in tact. Just as good as the Milagro Beanfield War, but with a little less time for whimsy.
Apr 22, 2008 Eldaa rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: New Mexicans, people who enjoyed Milagro Beanfield War
Shelves: fiction
Though all the books I enjoy do not necessarily have to have a happy ending, I generally enjoy happy books. This is not a happy book. It's a good book. But it's a sad book and I wouldn't say I enjoyed it. Though it is worth reading.
Mar 22, 2009 Dennis rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Important - 1
Well-written - 5
Kept my Attention - 3
Must Read - 1
Accessible - 5

Michael Kraft
Sep 09, 2013 Michael Kraft rated it really liked it
A funny and angry book, not as much to my liking as The Milagro Beanfield War but still very worthwhile.
Feb 28, 2012 John rated it really liked it
sort of an american Garcia-Marquez; one of the milagro beanfield war trilogy, funny, gets you caught right up in it
Jul 15, 2009 Jason rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Interesting perspective of the machinations involved in "progress." Fascinating look at history of the last century in New Mexico, and into relations between Anglos, Indians, and Mexicans.
Jul 29, 2013 Robert rated it it was amazing
Excellent up to the very end. Humorous and captivating. A pleasure to read.
David Roberts
Mar 15, 2013 David Roberts rated it it was amazing
The second in the New Mexico Trilogy, carrying forth with some of the favorite Chamisaville characters and adding new ones. Almost as good as the first book, and just as funny.
Nov 12, 2008 Charlie rated it really liked it
A must read for all Taosenos (People who live in Taos NM). A scathing indictment of the new American frontier.
Not as insightful or deep as Milagro Beanfield War, so a little disappointing.
Jun 01, 2008 Jessica rated it liked it
not a bad story
Richard Kravitz
Jul 29, 2016 Richard Kravitz rated it really liked it
#2 in the trilogy. Some bizarre sex I remember. Nice continuation of the story, crazy in places.
Steve Van der werff
Steve Van der werff rated it really liked it
Jun 13, 2013
Matthew rated it it was ok
Apr 30, 2008
Tom O'Connor
Tom O'Connor rated it really liked it
Jul 13, 2013
Walter rated it really liked it
Aug 08, 2012
Deborah Gahm
Deborah Gahm rated it really liked it
Feb 09, 2013
Matt Hermann
Matt Hermann rated it it was amazing
Dec 29, 2007
Jonlex rated it liked it
Jul 05, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Thuggin In Miami (The Family Is Made : Part 1)
  • Healing Earthquakes
  • The Great Taos Bank Robbery and other True Stories of the Southwest
  • Truck Stop Rainbows
  • Desert America: Boom and Bust in the New Old West
  • The Brave Cowboy: An Old Tale in a New Time
  • The Pueblo Revolt: The Secret Rebellion that Drove the Spaniards Out of the Southwest
  • Fooling with Words: A Celebration of Poets and Their Craft
  • The Night the White Deer Died
  • Cities of Gold: A Journey Across the American Southwest in Pursuit of Coronado
  • Melymbrosia
  • The Last Empty Places: A Past and Present Journey Through the Blank Spots on the American Map
  • Blood Orchid: An Unnatural History of America
  • Wild Indigo (A Wild Mystery #1)
  • In Love & Trouble: Stories of Black Women
  • Argall: The True Story of Pocahontas and Captain John Smith
  • The John McPhee Reader (John McPhee Reader, #1)
  • Style Me Vintage: Make Up: Easy Step-by-Step Techniques for Creating Classic Looks
John Nichols is the author of the New Mexico trilogy, a series about the complex relationship between history, race and ethnicity, and land and water rights in the fictional Chamisaville County, New Mexico. The trilogy consists of The Milagro Beanfield War (which was adapted into the film The Milagro Beanfield War directed by Robert Redford), The Magic Journey, and The Nirvana Blues.

Two of his oth
More about John Nichols...

Other Books in the Series

The New Mexico Trilogy (4 books)
  • The Milagro Beanfield War
  • The Nirvana Blues
  • The New Mexico Trilogy: The Milagro Beanfield War / The Magic Journey / The Nirvana Blues

Share This Book